The true recipe of the stuffed mussels

Stuffed mussels, two different recipes for a traditional dish of La Spezia

How about every tradition worthy of respect, even on stuffed mussels (traditional food of La Spezia) there is a bitter confrontation. n detail, it is discussed on one thing: the mortadella ham is necessary to the success of the recipe or not? As we have done for the porridge, panigacci and testaroli and sgabei, we try to look further in the matter.

No mortadella, Chef Paracucchi used to make muscles this way

This recipe is from the book “The Lunigiana cuisine” published by written by Angelo Paracucchi.
Ingredients (for 6-8 people):
  • 40 big muscles
  • 50 grams of bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 30 grams of grated parmisan chees
  • garlic
  • parsley
  • ½ glass of red wine
  • 5 spoons of olive oil
  • 200 grams peeled and seeded tomatoes
  • 1 glass of milk
  • salt and pepper


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Scrape the muscles with a knife, wash them well and open them, being careful not to detach the valves. Soak the breadcrumbs in milk, for 10 minutes. In a bowl put the squeezed bread, Parmesan cheese, eggs, salt, pepper and a bit ‘of chopped muscles with garlic and parsley. Mix well until you have a smooth paste. Fill te muscles. In a saucepan, place the oil, more garlic and parsley and saute lightly.
Sprinkle with red wine, to evaporate a moment and add the crushed tomatoes. Add salt and pepper.
Put the muscles into the saucepan, making a single layer, cover them and let them cook for 40-45 minutes over medium heat.

Mortadella gives taste!

But there are those who perceive it differently and use mortadella and how.
Here is another recipe.


  • 1 bag of muscles of about 2.5 Kg
  • 150 grams mortadella ham
  • three eggs
  • 50 grams grated grana cheese
  • 2 slices of bread, deprived of the crust and soaked
  • 1 bottle tomato sauce (or peeled)
  • garlic abd parsley inely chopped
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • salt – nutmeg


Once thoroughly cleaned muscles and discarded the broken ones or very small, choose the larger ones to make the portions of five to six muscles for person.
These, they will be those who will have to be filled, are opened by gently twisting the nerve that keeps them together, but without separating them completely.
They should not be detached, otherwise you will be forced to tie them with a string: earning the flames of hell of La Spezia cooking. This operation must be done on a basin, so as not to waste muscle fluid.
The other muscles will be made to open in the pan.
For the filling: Soak the bread with the muscle liquid, filtered, then wring it out, then chop very finely mortadella and a handful of cooked muscles.
At this point, combine everything: bread, bologna ham, chopped muscles, grain, eggs, nutmeg to taste. Taste the filling and add salt if necessary.
Take a fairly large saucepan to hold all muscles lined up and let them fry with chopped garlic and parsley, deglaze with wine, then add the tomatoes (lightly salted sauce)
When the sauce starts to boil, align the muscles that we have filled with the filling in the pan.
Cover and cook for half an hour, reversing the muscles once after 10 minutes of cooking.

How to open the muscles to prepare stuffed mussels?

Do you have trouble opening your muscles?
Here is a video that you will for sure help.
Spezzino Vero



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